Meet our Staff: Brianna Davis

Brianna Davis, Dorot Fellow

"The beauty of my role lies in the fact that there is no “typical” day. The fast-paced and ever-changing environment at AFJ ensures that each day brings new challenges and opportunities, making the work incredibly fulfilling."

What drew you to AFJ? 

I was drawn to Alliance for Justice (AFJ) because it stands at the forefront of advocating for a fair and independent justice system, having successfully shifted the dialogue surrounding the crucial role of our courts. AFJ’s commitment to shaping a future where rights are protected, and justice prevails resonates deeply with me. Personally, being able to check two diversity boxes as a Black woman, I place immense importance on diversity and inclusivity. Witnessing individuals who resemble me working tirelessly to create a just and equitable environment is not only inspiring but also crucial in fostering a sense of belonging for everyone. As a Dorot Fellow, my involvement in the judicial nominations process has been exceptionally rewarding, allowing me to witness firsthand the tangible outcomes of my advocacy and labor in promoting a fair and inclusive justice system

Describe a typical day/week of work for you! 

Working at AFJ is a dynamic and exciting experience! The beauty of my role lies in the fact that there is no “typical” day, which keeps things consistently engaging. The fast-paced and ever-changing environment at AFJ ensures that each day brings new challenges and opportunities, making the work incredibly fulfilling.

Among the diverse assignments that I’ve had the pleasure of working on, a few stand out. Crafting fact sheets and letters of support for our exceptional nominees has been a highlight, allowing me to contribute to the advocacy for deserving candidates. Additionally, taking charge of “The Rush”, delving into pre-nomination research on our Building the Bench initiatives, and more recently working to draft the amazing End of Year Report has been both rewarding and intellectually stimulating. The variety in my responsibilities keeps me on my toes and allows me to make meaningful contributions to AFJ’s impactful work. It’s a fantastic journey, and I look forward to the unique challenges each day brings!

Did you always know you wanted to be a lawyer? 

Yes, I’ve always known I wanted to be a lawyer, and it’s a passion that has been ingrained in me since childhood. I vividly recall my grandmother always telling me, “You sure like to argue. You’d make a great lawyer.” As I grew older, my voice, confidence, and passion for standing up against injustice flourished. I found myself drawn to fighting for those without a voice and advocating for the necessary reforms within the criminal justice system. This deep-seated desire to right wrongs and ensure fairness aligns perfectly with the work that Alliance for Justice (AFJ) does in promoting fair-minded judges to the bench. It’s not just a career choice for me; it’s a calling, a commitment to making a positive impact and contributing to a more just and equitable society.

What do you wish more people understood about your work, and about the judiciary more broadly? 

I wish more people understood the profound impact that the judiciary has on our daily lives. The decisions made by judges shape the very fabric of our society, influencing everything from individual rights to broader issues that impact communities. It’s crucial for everyone to recognize that the judiciary plays a pivotal role in safeguarding our rights and ensuring justice prevails. Moreover, the importance of having diverse and fair-minded judges cannot be overstated. Diversity on the bench brings a range of perspectives, experiences, and insights that enrich the decision-making process. When judges reflect the diversity of the population, they are better equipped to understand the varied needs and concerns of everyday Americans.

Getting diverse and fair-minded judges on the bench is not just a matter of representation; it’s a necessity for the fair administration of justice. It ensures that the legal system is more responsive to the diverse challenges faced by individuals and communities. Everyone should care deeply about the composition of our judiciary because the decisions made in courtrooms directly affect us all. It’s about justice, fairness, and the protection of fundamental rights—a cause that should resonate with every citizen invested in the well-being of our society.

What advice do you have for young people considering law school? 

I wholeheartedly encourage young people considering law school to go for it! Law school has been the most rewarding experience of my life, despite the challenges and hard work it entails. It’s a journey that not only shapes your career but also transforms you as an individual. While the workload can be intense, don’t let that deter you—embrace the challenge and be prepared to put in the effort. One piece of advice I would offer is to be open to change. You might enter law school with a specific career path in mind, only to discover new interests and opportunities along the way. It’s perfectly okay to graduate with a different plan than the one you initially envisioned. Law school is a dynamic and transformative experience that equips you with valuable skills, critical thinking, and a deep understanding of the legal system. So, dive in, work hard, and be open to the incredible journey that awaits you!

Fun question! What are some of your favorite spots in DC that you’ve found during your time here? 

Washington, D.C. is a history buff’s dream, and I’ve had the incredible opportunity to explore some truly remarkable places. The city’s abundance of museums is a treasure trove, and I’ve particularly enjoyed immersing myself in the rich cultural and historical narratives at the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the African American Civil War Memorial and Museum, and the Mary McLeod Bethune Council House. These institutions offer profound insights into the diverse stories that have shaped our nation.

Moreover, D.C.’s culinary scene is as diverse as its history, and I’ve discovered some fantastic, Black and Nigerian owned restaurants that celebrate the city’s cultural richness. Ben’s Chili Bowl, Georgia Brown, Naija Cafe, and Jollof Etcetera are among my top picks, each offering a unique and delicious experience that adds another layer to the vibrant tapestry of this remarkable city. Exploring both the historical and gastronomic wonders of D.C. has truly been a joy!